The phrase ‘I am Spartacus!’ was taken from the 1960 film Spartacus by Stanley Kubrick. Historically, Spartacus was a slave who trained as a gladiator under oppressive Roman rule, and who led a slave rebellion in 73 BC. He amassed a large army of fellow slaves and led his men to defeat the Roman legion on several occasions. Eventually, the Roman Senate sent Marcus Crassus to put down this rebellion with 8 legions, approximately 40,000 to 50,000 Roman soldiers.
The slaves, led by Spartacus, fought well but were ultimately defeated in battle.
The phrase ‘I am Spartacus’ comes from a scene in the film where, after the battle, the Roman general, Crassus, tells the remaining remnant of captured slaves that they will not be crucified if they reveal the identity of their leader.
Before Spartacus could speak, one by one, each captured slave yelled out, “I am Spartacus’, thus choosing a painful death rather than continued slavery under oppressive Roman rule. In other words, these men, in a last act of gallantry, refused to betray their leader and accepted death as free men.
This week’s title is ‘The Technology Trap’. How does Spartacus relate to technology?
Technology is a wonderful servant but a terrible master. Technology and the unbridled use of modern media will destroy you and your family more than anything else, if you allow it. The challenge is to make sure that technology and all the modern media options continue to be servants for your family and not masters. For this to be the case, you as a father, must lead by example.
As Albert Schweitzer said, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.”
You, as a father, need to take courage from not only the story of Spartacus but the modern story of The Incredibles and their fight against the evil Screenslaver.
Dr Helen Fisher from Rutgers University has proved through MRI brain scan technology what everyone already knows. Men are visual creatures. Men love TV and the internet. I am no exception to the rule; in fact I recognised long ago that I had all the makings of a TV addict. (You could insert internet addict or gaming addict here).
The trouble with being a TV/Internet addict is that most of what is on TV/Internet is detrimental to you and your family. A prime example of this occurred on TV last year. Queensland was beaten in the State of Origin football game. This was a harmful experience to me as I am a supporter of Queensland – just kidding!!!
It’s not so much the State of Origin on TV that will inculcate you with all the wrong values. It’s more like shows such as ‘Sex in the City’, ‘Days of our Drearies’ and the deluge of Hollywood blood, gore and sex extravaganzas that pass for family entertainment these days. As I said, I realised my preponderance for TV/media addiction years ago and so for many years our family did not have a TV.
Not having a TV forced us to talk and eat together. I had a better sex life with my wife, and thankfully I can honestly say that none of my children are TV addicts, in spite of them being on the creative side and therefore more susceptible to visual distraction.
The greatest challenge for families these days is the introduction of the internet. A wonderful blessing but also a powerful curse. A good broadband connection is a bit like having a large sewer main running through your house. That is why we use ‘Webshield’ to filter our broadband. I highly recommend it as the first ISP in Australia to have a decent adjustable porn filter.
Technology: TV, internet, mobiles, iPhones, will all take over your life if you allow them to. They must remain your servant and not your master. Even Facebook has its challenges. The murder several years ago of bubbly 18 year old Nona Belomesoff by a man she met on Facebook and Bebo, another social networking site, highlights the perils involved.
If you doubt me, check out this list of crazy deaths of people through misuse of social media.
These stories send a chill down a father’s spine.
We as fathers must reject the journey into being a slave to modern media and technology for our children’s sake. Just like those slaves of old who cried out “I am Spartacus!” and rejected enslavement, we must reject the technology trap that makes us less human. As Albert Einstein said, “It is appallingly obvious our technology has exceeded our humanity”.
What is right is not always popular, and what is popular is not always right. It takes courage to swim against the flow. I am not advocating not using modern media in your home, but I am saying that you have to set the parameters for your family, in consultation with your loved ones.
The best, and hardest, way to set your parameters is by example.
Evaluate the amount of modern media you and your family consume.
Establish safeguards and accountability procedures for all concerned and always remember, there is no online substitute for a loving, caring and interactive father.
Yours for avoiding the Technology Trap,